What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

The Saint Patrick's Day Flood of 1936
By Katie Frontino

In March of 1936, Brookville experienced one of the worst floods in its history. The day was March 17th, St. Patrick's Day. The Sandy Lick, North Fork, and Redbank Creeks were fed by melting snow, ice, and continuous rainfall for three days. The whole watershed broke out in swollen streams that converged on the lowlands of the borough with a great fury. Unlike the average flood, common to the district, the great expanse of swirling waters stubbornly refused to recede after hours of constant flows.

A score of small, lightweight buildings were caught in the flow and swept away. Property damage and the loss of many business and houses was hard to estimate. Many streets were blocked with the traffic and badly damaged homes. Creek waters came up to the tops of bridges and overflowed. Mail came to a stop in Brookville.

A small part of the borough called Belgiumtown, was completely isolated for two days. Water covered all of the lower parts of the little settlement. Flood waters rushing across the road completely washed it away.

The St. Patrick's Day Flood was said to be a judgement day for every old timer who was accustomed to the floods dating back to the lumbering days of the district. They all agreed that there had never been such a tremendous volume of water carried by the Red Bank. No previous flood in history of the community ever held such a sustained flood crest over so long a period. It would certainly go down in history.

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